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Kate Smith
Kate Smith

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30 March 2020 Kate Smith

Our sector needs to hear more from other industries and professions, says Kate Smith.

Our sector needs to hear more from other industries and professions. Why? 

Because they are our customers so we need to be experts in their core business. Understanding their needs enables us to tailor our services and communications, and develop products to exceed expectations. 

Our customers are more engaged when we demonstrate the value we are delivering as it positively impacts core business priorities, not by using our own workplace and FM metrics.

They are partners. As the pace of change accelerates, it’s critical that we assemble a network of partners across technology, sustainability, energy, HR, R&D, property and others. Workplace can drive physical and cultural transformation but we cannot do it alone. 

They are talent pools. Challenge yourself to look at talent in other industries when recruiting; our roles are changing and fresh thinking and diverse talent from outside our sector will help us thrive. The agendas of many sectors continue to converge around key topics such as ESG and the war for talent, so their experience may often be more relevant than you think.  

They help us innovate and disrupt. Last November, McKinsey said: “Facilities management is ripe for disruption: it lags behind other functions by both digital maturity and penetration of technology.” Look at how retailers are responding to e-commerce or logistics providers are developing last-mile solutions. Reflect on changes in transport with autonomous vehicles, hyperloops and avatars. Learn about the future of food production with 3D printing, vertical farms and cultured meat. 

It is important/fun/scary to think how such changes will impact our sector but there is also plenty to inspire us to disrupt ourselves before someone else does.

Kate Smith is head of workplace UK at CBRE